POPE John Paul II is "full brass and percussion," says jazz musician Dave Brubeck. That's why a piece Brubeck has written for the Pope's September 18 Mass at Candlestick Park in San Francisco resounds with trumpet's blare and timpani's boom.
The work, Pontifical Processional, is a strong music statement and includes a fugue Brubeck called "the most triumphant thing I've ever written." The world-renowned composer and musician was commissioned to write the work by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, with funding from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Bruback, 67, said he was guided by images evoked by the Scripture verse he had to illustrate — Mt 16:18 — and his personal view of Pope John Paul.
, "I view the Pope as a very strong, powerful, forceful individual," he said. And the text — "you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of the netherworth shall not prevail against it" — demanded a strong statement.
The processional, which begins peacefully, had a more powerful beginning until advisers discouraged the jazzman from opening with the trumphant fanfare — "too regal", he said. As a result, the pope will enter the stadium to music which conveys peace. "It's not as pompous as it might have been," Brubeck said. It also runs contrary to the composer's feelings for the Scripture it illustrates. The verse "is not a statement of peace for me, but that's what I was able to turn it into," he said.
The Mass at Candlestick Park also includes sections from "Mass, to Hope!," Brubeck's widely applauded liturgical piece written about five years ago which the artist said led him to join the Catholic Church.